First, thanks to the many, many of you who responded with great advice to our request for the “must-see, must-do, must-not-miss” attractions and restaurants between here and Memphis. We got so many comments, and long emails with links, suggestions and details. What a big help!
We sat down yesterday morning and worked our way through them all, making lists and adding push-pins to our Streets and Trips map. Campgrounds in the area we will be traveling don’t seem to be full in April - yay, no reservations required. We ended up with a general idea of where we want to be – and when – all subject to change, of course. :)
By 11:30, we were hungry and tired of being indoors with our computers, getting a little cranky. Another reader comment (thanks, Art in the Sun) had our mouths watering: the GA Pig, a BBQ restaurant just off the interstate, about 30 miles from here. Now, you know we’ll drive a long way for an interesting dining experience (and we’ve been told we “have to” try Georgia BBQ), but this had an added attraction: it is right on the way to Jekyll Island, on the Atlantic coast, home to a state park with campground. It took us all of two seconds to make up our minds.
GA Pig BBQ was a fun stop, a little old cabin set in a grove of tall pines (I never knew the southeast had so many pine forests!). The interstate exit had a cluster of truck stops with the usual fast food chains – Georgia Pig obviously was the oldest business and odd man out. They did a steady business, though.
The smell of smoky meat had our mouths watering before we got through the front door, and the interior was pure BBQ joint: picnic tables and benches, rolls of paper towels as napkins on the tables, a counter backed by the big, black maw of the smoke pit. Laminated menus next to the register, where you place your order, with today’s special on a handwritten sign… in fact, handwritten signs everywhere!
Odel ordered the Rib Dinner – pork ribs with two sides – and I got the lunch special, a chopped pork sandwich with two sides. The ribs were a disappointment – too much gristle and not very tender. The pork sandwich? A total TEN! The pork couldn’t have been better, so tender and smoky. If you go, get the chopped pork.
Pork ribs, two sides, and a pickle (Odel’s)
Pork sandwich, two sides, and a pickle (Laurie’s)
Jekyll Island was another ten miles down the road. The “historic area” of so-called summer cottages, flanked by three 18-hole golf courses, was amazing – huge “cottages” built in the mid-late 1800’s by the very wealthy (Goodyear among them). We drove slowly past, eyes wide… thinking maybe we should dump all the plans we just made and come back to Jekyll Island for a few weeks when we leave Charleston!
The campground gets great reviews on rvparkreviews.com, but it definitely is NOT our style – closely packed sites, narrow roads… SO crowded. It was difficult to tell where one site ended and another began, with rigs shoehorned in every which way.
Unlike most state parks, there doesn’t appear to be a limit on how long you can stay – it was obvious that many of the campers were snowbirds. It would be wonderful to have easy access to all the island has to offer – long beaches, great bike trails, good walking – but the campground during “high season” was a real disappointment to us.
As soon as we were able to work our way through the maze to the exit, we were off to the beach, on the Atlantic side. I believe this is the first time I have ever seen the Atlantic ocean from the eastern US – probably from anywhere. I took the top photo to memorialize the moment. :)
It is so different to be traveling once again in areas that are completely new to both of us. There is so much we want to do, and so much we have to leave on the “some other visit” list. In a few hours, we will be heading off to visit Savannah, GA (5 day stay), then to Charleston, SC, two cities dense with “don’t miss” locations. We ALWAYS need maps, and the GPS gets a daily workout. Quite a change from our travels of recent years!